Florida Native Shows that Every Life has Dignity and Worth, Especially People Experiencing Homelessness

Daily Point of Light # 7273 Apr 19, 2022

Meet Daily Point of Light Award honoree Briana Daniel, who was a 2021 L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth Awardee. Each year L’Oréal Paris and Points of Light recognize and celebrate Women of Worth who make a beautiful difference in their communities. Ten honorees each receive a $20,000 grant to support their most cherished cause, and an online vote determines one honoree who will receive an additional $25,000 grant. Nominations for 2022 are now open! If you know a woman who works to create lasting and significant change in her community, nominate her to be one of the 2022 Women of Worth.

As Briana Daniel went for her usual run in downtown Orlando around Lake Eola Park in 2013, she came across someone she’d seen before. He was experiencing homelessness at the time and sold art along the lake as a way to support himself. Briana was familiar with his story and his art but she learned something new that day — just how vast the homeless population really is in her community.  

“I had an idea of who our homeless friends were in the area, but he pointed out people that were homeless even though they didn’t look like it. It was really eye-opening,” she said. 

At 21 years old, Briana brought Street Team Movement Inc. to life that same year. The nonprofit has now grown into an organization that provides laundry services, haircuts and hygiene products to people experiencing homelessness.  

Briana originally wanted to create a food pantry, but after some thought, she put her energy into uncovering gaps in what was needed most and ensuring she wasn’t duplicating services that were already being provided. To discover where the biggest needs were, she decided to try an idea: live alongside homeless people for a month on the streets of Orlando.

Headshot of a woman in a dark red top.
Briana Daniel brought Street Team Movement Inc. to life in order to provide laundry services, haircut services and hygiene products to people experiencing homelessness./Courtesy Edward Linsmier for L’Oréal Paris.

She learned that hygiene was the biggest need not being met, so she set out to meet it by creating Street Team Movement Inc. and partnering with other nonprofit organizations in the area. So far, Daniel has helped distribute 1 million hygiene items and run more than 50,000 loads of laundry for people without homes.  

“Making those connections and really knowing that the work we’re doing is so impactful and that it’s inspiring other people to take action — it inspires me to keep going,” Briana said. “Some days it’s really hard, but this touches more people than I’m ever going to know.” 

Briana’s Street Team Movement Inc. provided support services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and 2017’s Hurricane Maria, which saw an influx of people in the Orlando area, according to Briana. Street Team Movement Inc. helped create a separate fund for those displaced by the hurricane.  

The COVID-19 pandemic limited Briana and Street Team Movement Inc.’s volunteer base and interaction with people experiencing homelessness for safety reasons, but it did lead to one of their greatest innovations to date. The nonprofit created and distributed hygiene vending machines across the city in the hopes of making hygiene and laundry services more accessible and convenient to those who need it most — and it worked.  

People in need can use the vending machines with “Hope cards,” which work similar to debit cards and are preloaded with a certain number of vending machine swipes per week.

As Street Team Movement Inc. grew, Briana saw firsthand that society shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. 

“It’s elementary and fundamental, but still needed,” she said.  

Briana and her team are looking forward to their Donate Your Voice event in June 2022, when participants are encouraged to donate their social media platforms to advocate for people experiencing homelessness.  

“Our homeless friends just want to be seen right where they are. It might not be glamorous, but if you just take the time to see them, it does a world of good,” Briana said. “It helps lead to healing.” 

Do you want to make a difference in your community like Briana? Find local volunteer opportunities. 

Madi Donham